Finch and Reinking cherishing Sheffield return

14 July 2012 / 07:51

Great Britain basketball coach Chris Finch and veteran guard Nate Reinking are looking forward to something of a homecoming when the team take on Portugal in Sheffield in a warm-up game for the Olympics on Saturday.

Although both men are Ohio-born, they can call Sheffield home thanks to long-standing connections with the city's BBL team, the Sharks. Finch crossed the Atlantic in the 1990s to play for the then-Sheffield Forgers, the team that became the Sharks and on which he later graduated to coach.

Reinking signed for Finch in 1999 and spent six years with the team before moving on, returning last season for a second spell. The game will be played in the Motorpoint Arena, and although the Sharks have now moved down the road to the Institute of Sport, this building was their old stomping ground.

"It's fun to be back in the Arena," Reinking said. "It brings back the old days. Hopefully we can bring back some of the magic."

While Reinking is once again a Sheffield resident, Finch now works day-to-day in Houston with the NBA's Rockets, so was feeling even more nostalgic as he counted off the M1's service stations on the drive north to the venue.

"It feels great to be back," he said. "It's a wonderful city and I owe it a lot. They gave me my first opportunity to play here as a professional, and my first opportunity to coach. I've spent more time in Sheffield than any place other than my childhood home, and it's a very easy place for me to be."

The experience for Finch and Reinking this weekend will be much like that to come for many in this GB squad - which features several Londoners - come the start of the Olympics.

And Finch is keen for homecoming emotions not to become a distraction.

"In this whole experience this summer, I've tried to block out the emotions and just focus on the job and what we need to do," Finch said, thoughts echoed by Reinking. "I try not to let myself go that way because it will be emotional, and we need to focus on the task in hand." he said. "Right now, that's Portugal.

"I'm just trying to break down the summer into sections, making goals along the way so that I can try to enjoy it."